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Serikin Town Border Market

Serikin Town Border Market

Serikin Town Border MarketHaving been around for almost 20 years, the Serikin town border market is truly one of Kuching’s local hidden gems. My first visit here was back in 2010 and as a local, I was quite surprised that a market of this calibre existed just our of Kuching city.

A recent trip back to the Serikin Border Market in October 2017 was even more exciting as I had looked forward to coming back once again, to see if there had been any changes, and to my surprise, there were. The market grew larger, in terms of more vendors.

If you did not already know, the Serikin Border Market is mainly operated by the locals of Kalimantan, from across the border and also the local Sarawakians. Items sold are mainly catered to the local Sarawakians and the occasional tourist from Malaysia.

Serikin Town Border Market

The Serikin border market can get really hot in the afternoons

This rustic and very localized market caters mainly to the local Sarawakians, where products are brought in from Indonesia and sold at the border market which stretches about a kilometer long. From Kuching, it takes about one and a half hours drive through some of the local villages and towns.

What can you find here? Generally, a good combination of household items ranging from kitchen utensils, comforters, curtains and rattan furniture is spotted all over the market. Apparels for kids, men and women are also in abundance, but do not expect high street fashion.

Serikin Town Border Market

Some of the home decorations available at the border market

A number of Muslim religious prayer items are also sold by some while the local traditional medicine men can also be spotted selling some oils and cream. Costume jewellery for the budget savvy consumer can also be found here. A couple of stalls were seen selling local traditional Dayak handicraft and accessories.

Serikin is a border town that is located very close to the earth’s equator, hence over here, it can be extremely hot and humid. When I was walking here, I felt as if I was in an open air sauna, perspiring every step of the way. I would advise for visitors here to bring an umbrella and drink lots of water to avoid being dehydrated.

Serikin Town Border Market

Dayak and some other ethnic clothing and accessories being sold here

For the international tourist, this place is worth a visit if you love all things markets, probably just to walk around and see how a border market operates. Who knows as you may even pick up a souvenir or two here.

Best is to go early, before the mid day sun or late in the evenings before they close around six. There are some tour companies that offer local tours here, but I would recommend you rent a car and self drive here as it is quite easy.

Serikin Town Border Market

Rattan furniture is one of the great buys at the Serikin border market

Overall, it is an experience worth doing if you have the extra time in Kuching. You will not see the common tourist, but more locals, Singaporeans and Malaysians coming here for the great prices being offered.

Serikin border market only opens on the weekends and does get crowded especially during the school holidays and festive seasons. There are only local Indonesian restaurants found here and very casual type restaurants or coffee shops.

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Photos by David Hogan Jr

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The vel kavadi bearers – mind over matter

Why do vel kavadi bearers feel no pain while being pierced by pointy skewers or hooks?

ONE of a extraordinary aspects about vel kavadi bearers during a Thaipusam celebrations is a miss of pain, infection and draining they experience.

The reason behind this is claimed to be a holy charcoal that is dirty on a tools of a physique that are to be pierced by a vel skewers or hooks.

This holy charcoal is stoical essentially of dusty cow’s dung, that has a prolonged story of being used as an bleach in Indian normal medicine.

Not many systematic studies have been finished on this probable engaging skill of cow dung, nonetheless a organisation of students during Perdana University’s Graduate School of Medicine in Serdang, Selangor, are now looking into it.

Assoc Prof Dr Mohanraj… Pain can be possibly feeling or emotional.

Assoc Prof Dr Andrew Mohanraj, who is one of their supervisors, does not disremember a probability that this holy charcoal is indeed, a reason – in some-more ways than one – behind a miss of pain and infection vel kavadi bearers seem to experience.

However, a psychiatrist says: “To know pain, one contingency realize that it is feeling and emotional.”

The feeling member of pain is a tangible earthy pain felt, while romantic pain is viewed pain, though any earthy stimulus.

Both components of pain are influenced in a vel kavadi bearer, as they enter a state of coma during a rite and way on Thaipusam.

Well prepared

Kavadi bearers are approaching to bear heated credentials for weeks before a tangible act.

During this basic duration – and as an act of penance, devotees customarily quick by adopting a limited vegetarian diet, rehearse celibacy, and discuss on God.

“In a process, it is my opinion that one gets some-more focused on a design of a act,” says Assoc Prof Dr Mohanraj.

“This compulsory steady overloading of a mind with a singular steady suspicion (through imagining and fasting) allows an altered state of mind where a pain threshold is elevated.”

He shares that it has been scientifically proven that a state of mind does impact a body.

“Devotees go into a state of trance, that is an altered state of alertness where they are receptive to suggestions, a condition ordinarily famous as hypnosis,” he says.

In this condition, they are open to submit by family, friends and a priests, who would be enlivening and exhorting them on.

Psychologically speaking, a concentration of a advocate on their God during a rite itself serves as a diversion from a suspicion of pain, that also formula in a obscure of a trouble or stress routinely felt when we know a pointy intent is about to be stranded into you.

“Not usually are they not wakeful while they are being pierced, though they are also not wakeful of a means of a pain, that is, a act of being pierced,” says Assoc Prof Dr Mohanraj.

The heated preparations heading adult to a carrying of a kavadi formula in an altered state of alertness that helps diminution pain, infection and draining in a devotee.

He shares that this mental diversion is a common technique used in other unpleasant situations like, for example, childbirth.

“During labour, a mom is asked to combine on her breathing. It unequivocally doesn’t have many tie with a pain, though it serves to obstruct her mind from it, ensuing in lowered notice of pain,” he explains.

The body’s response

Physically speaking, a kavadi bearer’s altered state of mind formula in a clarity of euphoria, a decreased clarity of pain and an towering defence response.

The decreased clarity of pain comes from a recover of certain hormones, that have an analgesic, or pain-numbing, outcome on a body.

Meanwhile, a towering defence response, as good as a use of a holy ash, that many expected contains bleach properties, substantially helps to forestall infection of a wounds afterward.

The blood vessels also constrict, ensuing in reduction draining when a advocate is pierced. Assoc Prof Dr Mohanraj said: “There is expected to be interstitial draining (between a tissue), that can't be seen, though probably, no apparent bleeding.”

The technique of trenchant also plays an critical partial in a miss of blood and pain experienced, he says.

“It’s not too deep, doesn’t cut into any vital arteries or veins, and doesn’t strike any nerves, that is utterly formidable as a face has a lot of critical nerves using by it.” – by Tan Shiow Chin

Thaipusam - Kavadi Procession

Thaipusam: a jubilee of faith and gratitude

Mini Thaipusam

Mini Thaipusam in vital colour

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